'I feel like everybody's just ready to really celebrate Christmas this year.'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend Christmas Parade hit the wet streets of the city Saturday morning, with plenty of smiles despite the rainy weather. The event brought out thousands of people, packing the streets of downtown and the parade route.
"This is the kickoff to the Christmas season," said Amanda Windlinx, First Interstate Bank's parade float organizer. "This is this is when people know it's really time to start celebrating."
Formany families, watching the parade is holiday tradition.
Parade viewer Mark Connor said, "Once you had the Christmas Parade start up, it feels like it all starts."
There were 104 participating people or groups -- plenty of dancers, trucks, wreaths, and trees bedecked in ornaments, one after another in the parade.
And our very own NewsChannel 21 team greeted people with smiles and waves.
This years theme was 'Lights of Christmas.'
For First Interstate Bank, it's the team's fifth year participating in the parade.
Windlinx said, "It's just meaningful to show up to our community members, our neighbors, the people that count on us, to see us ...to help them start off celebrating."
The parade also had 160 volunteers helping to spread Christmas cheer.
Another parade viewer, Penny Walter, said, "I just feel like I'm so ready for the holidays this year. Just over the last few years, it's just been at everything with a slower pace. I feel like everybody's just ready to really celebrate Christmas this year."
The first recorded Christmas Parade in Bend was circa 1950. The all-volunteer Bend Christmas Parade Committee has offered the parade to the community for the past 30 years.